Some people may think of breast cancer as a disease that only affects older women. But many young women can and do get breast cancer – just like Maggie Loucks, NP-C, who was diagnosed one week after her 28th birthday.
“Hearing the words ‘the lump is malignant’ isn’t really anything you can prepare yourself to hear,” says Loucks, who is also a nurse at Dana-Farber. “You kind of feel like the world is completely falling down around you, but you somehow have to stay up and keep moving forward.”
Because she was diagnosed at a young age, Loucks faced several difficult decisions around her treatment and how it would affect her future fertility. Would she choose a lumpectomy or a mastectomy? Would she bank embryos? Would she choose the standard treatment, or try a new protocol that may be less toxic?
“When a young cancer patient comes in to meet with us, it is important for us, as their provider, to consider fertility with them,” says Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Loucks’ oncologist and the founder/director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. “Once you have that conversation and figure out their preferences, it is important for us to think about their treatment options in the context of not only how it will affect the cancer, but also how it may impact this other very important life goal.”
Hear more of Loucks’ story by listening to the podcast episode below or click “download” to listen later. Subscribe options are also available via iTunes, Google Play, the Stitcher app, TuneIn app, and RSS.
The Voices podcast series features stories from cancer patients who share their experiences coping with their life-changing diagnoses and treatment. Season 1 of Voices features breast cancer patients. Visit the Voices page for more episodes and Dana-Farber’s podcast page for more information on other cancer podcast series.